current affairs

Rebutting Care UK’s spin

Care UK's Managing Director Mark Hunt is highly misleading when quoted in a recent article in The Argus “Health centre 'reservations'” which covers the panel report on the GP-led clinic . Mr Hunt claims that “93% of our NHS walk-in centres are rated as excellent or good”. However Care UK's website reports only 4 such clinics, add in the fifth just opened in Brighton and you still can't make 93% into a whole figure.

Mr Hunt seems to be quoting his firm's interim financial report for 2009 which claims a “93% 'Excellent' or 'Good' overall patient experience in Care UK's Primary Care services”. So this figure covers more than just the walk-in centres which are a small part of Care UK's business. Mr Hunt also failed to state that it was a patient experience rating which, while important, does not cover the clinical issues only qualified inspectors could check.

Mr Hunt also claimed Care UK has “an outstanding reputation for high quality services across the country” but nobody would believe that if they had seen the BBC Panorama documentary detailing his firm's failings in providing care for the elderly. Care UK were sacked by Hertfordshire County Council less than a year into a contract, the NHS also terminated a diagnostic services contract with them in the West Midlands. Care UK have had critical reports from inspectors of the Commission for Social Care Inspection and the Healthcare Commission. The problems experienced at Care UK's Sussex Orthopaedic Treatment Centre in Haywards Heath have already been previously discussed on this blog.

Mr Hunt is not being straightforward with The Argus' readers. I sincerely hope the new health centre in Brighton provides excellent quality care, but I'm deeply concerned by Care UK's appointment and that NHS contract procedures did not allow its previous problematic history to be properly taken into account.